Materials Science News

MIT Engineers Design New 3D Forms of Graphene

January 10, 2017

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MIT Engineers Design One of the Strongest, Lightest Materials Known

A team of engineers at MIT has successfully designed a new 3D material with five percent the density of steel and ten times the strength, making it one of the strongest lightweight materials known. A team of researchers at MIT has designed one of the strongest lightweight materials known, by compressing and fusing flakes of […]

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Researchers Find a Way to Tap into Long-Lived Sound Waves in Glass

January 2, 2017

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Researchers Enhance the Lifetime of Sound Waves Traveling Through Glass

A newly published study from Yale scientists reveals how to enhance the lifetime of sound waves traveling through glass — the material at the heart of fiber optic technologies. Everyday experience tells us that glass (silica) is highly transparent. In fact, silica is one of the most transparent materials on earth. Light can propagate for […]

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New Material Provides an Elastic “Second Skin”

December 27, 2016

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MIT Engineers Develop Second skin Polymer

A team of researchers has developed a “second skin” polymer that can provide a barrier, cosmetic improvement, and potentially deliver drugs. Scientists at MIT, Massachusetts General Hospital, Living Proof, and Olivo Labs have developed a new material that can temporarily protect and tighten skin, and smooth wrinkles. With further development, it could also be used […]

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MIT Chemists Reveal Bacterial Enzyme That Can Produce Biodegradable Plastics

November 15, 2016

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Chemists Discover Structure of Bacterial Enzyme That Generates Useful Polymers

Researchers at MIT have determined the structure of a bacterial enzyme that can produce biodegradable plastics, an advance that could help chemical engineers tweak the enzyme to make it even more industrially useful. The enzyme generates long polymer chains that can form either hard or soft plastics, depending on the starting materials that go into […]

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New Catalyst Promotes Carbon Dioxide Conversion into Fuels

November 15, 2016

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Turning Greenhouse Gas Into Gasoline

Scientists at MIT have developed a new catalyst material that provides design principles for producing fuels from carbon dioxide emissions. The findings suggest a route toward using the world’s existing infrastructure for fuel storage and distribution, without adding net greenhouse emissions to the atmosphere. The new catalyst takes the process only through its first stage […]

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Harvard Engineers Create the First Fully 3D-Printed Heart-on-a-Chip

October 25, 2016

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The First 3D-Printed Heart on a Chip

Engineers from Harvard University have made the first entirely 3D-printed organ-on-a-chip with integrated sensing. Using a fully automated, digital manufacturing procedure, the 3D-printed heart-on-a-chip can be quickly fabricated and customized, allowing researchers to easily collect reliable data for short-term and long-term studies. This new approach to manufacturing may one day allow researchers to rapidly design […]

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Two-Pronged Immune Response Destroys Tumors

October 24, 2016

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New Treatment Elicits Two-Pronged Immune Response That Destroys Tumors in Mice

Using a combination of four different therapies, researchers from MIT reveal a new treatment that destroys tumors in mice. Harnessing the body’s own immune system to destroy tumors is a tantalizing prospect that has yet to realize its full potential. However, a new advance from MIT may bring this strategy, known as cancer immunotherapy, closer […]

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New Beaver-Inspired Wetsuits May Help Keep Surfers Warm

October 5, 2016

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Beaver-Inspired Wetsuits

Inspired by semiaquatic mammals such as beavers and sea otters, MIT engineers are fabricating fur-like rubbery hair-lined wetsuits that may help keep surfers warm. Beavers and sea otters lack the thick layer of blubber that insulates walruses and whales. And yet these small, semiaquatic mammals can keep warm and even dry while diving, by trapping […]

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Motion-Directed Microrobots Can Be Propelled Light

October 4, 2016

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Motion-Directed Robots on a Micro Scale

Researchers reveal a surprisingly simple way to direct synthetic microswimmers towards light or darkness. Phototactic behavior directs some bacteria towards light and others into darkness: This enables them to utilize solar energy as efficiently as possible for their metabolism, or, otherwise, protects them from excessive light intensity. A team of researchers headed by Clemens Bechinger […]

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Researchers Develop Shape-Programmable Miniscule Robots

September 27, 2016

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Scientists Develop Shape-Programmable Magnetic Soft Matter

Researchers from the Max Planck Institute have developed functional elastomers that can be activated by magnetic fields. One day, microrobots may be able to swim through the human body like sperm or paramecia to carry out medical functions in specific locations. Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart have developed functional […]

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MIT Aerospace Engineers Develop Carbon Nanotube “Stitches” to Strengthen Composites

August 8, 2016

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Carbon Nanotube Stitches

Using carbon nanotube “stitches,” aerospace engineers from MIT have found a way to strengthen composites, helping make airplane frames lighter and more damage-resistant. The newest Airbus and Boeing passenger jets flying today are made primarily from advanced composite materials such as carbon fiber reinforced plastic — extremely light, durable materials that reduce the overall weight […]

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New Battery Could Overcome Key Drawbacks of Lithium-Air Batteries

July 26, 2016

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New Battery Could Overcome Key Drawbacks of Lithium-Air Batteries

Engineers from MIT propose that a new lithium-oxygen battery material could be packaged in batteries that are very similar to conventional sealed batteries yet provide much more energy for their weight. Lithium-air batteries are considered highly promising technologies for electric cars and portable electronic devices because of their potential for delivering a high energy output […]

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New Hydrogel Hybrid Could Be Used To Make Artificial Skin

June 29, 2016

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MIT Develops Tough Hydrogel Hybrid

MIT engineers have developed a method to bind gelatin-like polymer materials called hydrogels and elastomers, which could be used to make artificial skin and longer-lasting contact lenses. If you leave a cube of Jell-O on the kitchen counter, eventually its water will evaporate, leaving behind a shrunken, hardened mass — hardly an appetizing confection. The […]

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Graphene Provides a New Way to Turn Electricity Into Light

June 15, 2016

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A New Way to Turn Electricity Into Light

By slowing down light to a speed slower than flowing electrons, scientists have developed a new way to turn electricity into light. When an airplane begins to move faster than the speed of sound, it creates a shockwave that produces a well-known “boom” of sound. Now, researchers at MIT and elsewhere have discovered a similar […]

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Bones and Shells May Lead to a New Formula for Concrete

June 2, 2016

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MIT Engineers Search for a New Formula for Concrete

Engineers from MIT are seeking to redesign concrete by using bones and shells as blueprints for a stronger, more durable concrete. In a paper published online in the journal Construction and Building Materials, the team contrasts cement paste — concrete’s binding ingredient — with the structure and properties of natural materials such as bones, shells, […]

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Dual-Phase Alloys Capable of High Strength and Ductility

June 1, 2016

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Alloys Overcome the Strength–Ductility Ttrade Off

Using a new strategy in the development of steel, scientists are able to create alloys capable of both high strength and ductility. For the steel industry, there may be a way out of the dilemma that has existed since people began processing metal. Scientists from the Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung in Düsseldorf (Germany) are presenting a […]

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Yale Engineers Develop a New Tool to Fight Dust

May 2, 2016

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Yale Develops a New Tool in the War Against Dust

Inspired by gecko feet, Yale researchers have developed a promising tool in the war on dust. Micrometric and sub-micrometric contaminant particles — what most of us call “dust” — can cause big problems for art conservators, the electronics industry, aerospace engineers, and others. These nanoparticles can prevent a cellphone from working or rob the vitality […]

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MIT Researchers Create Perfect Nanoscrolls from Graphene Oxide

April 12, 2016

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Researchers Create Perfect Nanoscrolls

Using both low- and high-frequency ultrasonic techniques, scientists have fabricated nanoscrolls made from graphene oxide flakes. Water filters of the future may be made from billions of tiny, graphene-based nanoscrolls. Each scroll, made by rolling up a single, atom-thick layer of graphene, could be tailored to trap specific molecules and pollutants in its tightly wound […]

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